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Police investigate graffiti at ‘wedding cake’ house
Patsy Akridge stands beside the graffiti that was spray-painted on the “wedding cake house” at 308 Starling Ave. Akridge purchased the historic house in 2008 and is in the process of restoring it. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
Someone decorated the “wedding cake house” at 308 Starling Ave. over Labor Day weekend, and the Martinsville Police Department is asking for help identifying the responsible party.
According to Patsy Akridge, who bought the historic house in 2008, someone spray-painted graffiti on the side of the house between about 2:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday.
Martinsville Interim Police Chief Eddie Cassady said Tuesday the department is investigating the vandalism.
According to Cassady, Martinsville police officers have received training in spotting gang-related graffiti, but they don’t believe that this graffiti is gang-related.
“At this point, we cannot determine that it’s gang-related,” he said. “I think this is just a random act of vandalism, but we still are looking at the possibilities and we’re getting some expert opinions.”
Cassady added that the police department has a product that removes graffiti, and using the product, they were able to remove a large portion of the damage by Tuesday afternoon.
According to a document at martinsville-va.gov, the house was designed and built in 1918 by George Tilden (Cap’n Til) Lester, founder of the Lester Lumber Co. It takes its nickname from its tiered structure, with an offset central tower that extends through all three floors. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
“People have called from across the country wanting to do stories on it,” Akridge said. She added that when President Barack Obama was campaigning in Martinsville/Henry County in 2008, he was shown the house.
Akridge said she bought the house so she could restore and maintain it, although she does not live in it.
While she obviously isn’t thrilled with the graffiti, she said that she isn’t angry at the person who spray-painted it on the house.
“I pray for the person that did it,” Akridge said. “I hope that he or she finds peace with that.”
Cassady asks anyone with any information on the vandalism to contact the Martinsville Police Department at 403-5300.